Chino Grinder Pre-Ride and Lessons Learned

Eight riders showed up for the March 15th pre-ride. Five intending to do
the 106 mile full course the others the 42 mile course. We started out
at from Old Home Manor Park at 8:15 with one rider (Scott) staying
behind to load more gear.

Rider,  Bike,  Tire (front|rear),  Distance
Dan,  cyclocross,  36,32,  106
Thom,  cyclocross,  32|32,  106
Tim,  mtn (full,29),  2.0|2.0,  106
Ben,  road bike,  25|25,  106
Nacho,  mtn(hardtail,26,  1.75|1.75,  42
Rich,  mtn(full,26),  2.35|2.35,  42
Scott,  mtn(hardtail,29),  2.1|2.1,  106
**Brian,  mtn(full, 29),  2.1|2.1,  Drake turnoff

** drove out to Drake and rode to Elk Ridge and back from there

Near the start and shortly after the road changed from pavement to dirt
the road bike pinch flatted on the rear tire. Ben was running a 25 mm
tire, after getting it quickly repaired we were back on the road. Dan
had stopped to assist and the others had kept on going as was the plan.
Around the 16 mile marker Ben suffered another pinch flat on the fast
downhill into Perkinsville. We tried a larger 28mm tire but it would not
clear the front derailleur clamp. After repairs were made Ben decided to
head back to Chino rather than risk flatting again.

While we were busy assisting fixing the flats six bikes continued on. We
put the hammer down in the truck and caught Nacho and Rich just before
Perkinsville. Chatted with them a bit as they rode, took some pics,
checked to see if they needed anything and told them we needed to get
ahead to support the three remaining riders that intended to do the full

Catching Dan and Thom at the 27 mile marker we learned that Thom had
suffered a rear pinch flat. They had repaired it and were well on their
way before we arrived. We went ahead to find Tim who had earlier built a
lead on the downhill into Perkinsville. We found him well into the paved
climb up to Williams. By then the full force of the forecast high wind
advisory could be felt. The National Weather Service had said that gusts
could reach 45 mph in the Williams/Flagstaff area. Tim had built a six
minute lead over the chasing Dan and Thom.

After the climb up Bear Canyon Dan developed a leak on the rear tire of
his tubeless setup. He stopped and we added some air (60 psi). Several
miles later the tire went down again and the decision was made to switch
to a tube.

At the the entrance to the ski resort Tim had already been up to the
resort and was on the return leg of the course. Now with an 18 minute
lead he took off south on Perkinsville with a tailwind. We waited for
Dan and Thom to make the turnaround along with Brian. Brian had started
at Drake so he could check out the upper part of the course instead of
running the full course.

After chatting with Brian for around 15 minutes we took off to catch up
to the three riders. On the way down Bear Canyon we saw a bike
approaching us and realized it was Scott. We stopped to check on him and
expressed our concern about him making it back to Old Home Manor before
dark. He assured us this was not an issue as he had full gear (tent,
sleeping bag, etc.) and would just spend the night where it got dark.
Scott is preparing for a 2,745 race called the Tour Divide and was using
the pre-ride for training. Oddly enough the lone item he forgot to
pack was toilet paper which we supplied him with and then took off to
try and catch the others.

A few miles outside of Perkinsville we came upon another rider, a woman,
headed north. We stopped to see if all was well and she said everything
was fine, that she had parked up near Williams and rode down to
Perkinsville. She was wearing an Absolute Bike kit and was powering up a

Down the road we came up on Dan and Thom. Dan had pinch flatted on the
rear tire. We decided to install a 35mm tire as a test inflated to 60
psi with the intention to beat on the tire to see if we could get it to
pinch flat again.

Halfway up the wildcat Draw climb Tim was still holding a 10 minute
lead. If he could reach the 10 mile marker he would have a downhill to
the finish and most likely would not get caught. Dan and Thom put in a
huge effort and finally caught sight of Tim at the 11 mile marker, just
before the top of the climb. Dodging a bull, tumbleweeds and a couple of
girls riding their horses (each holding a Coors tallboy, only in
Arizona!) in a fierce crosswind the three of them finished together in 6
hours 50 minutes. Awesome day on the bike and the only complaint by the
riders was about the wind. From the feedback we received everyone loved
the course.

Lessons learned:
– bring at least three tubes
– road bikes need at least a 28mm tire. We plan on testing a Gravelking
and a Pasela and will publish something at a later date. Choose a
heavier training tire over a “race” tire.
– Gravel and cyclocross bikes will be less likely to pinch flat running
a 35mm or larger tire.
– tread patterns that work well on the Chino Grinder course have
smoother, smaller knobs, or file tread patterns down the center with
side lugs for cornering and stability. Example: pick a Panaracer PASELA
TG 700X37c over a Panaracer Cinder X 700×35
– be prepared for the varying weather conditions.

Posted in bikes, Chino Grinder, gravel, gravel bike tires